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Tracey-Anne Plater, LISP 22 Flash Fiction LISP Finalist by 'Sunset Invasion'

LISP Flash Fiction LISP Finalist, 'Sunset Invasion' by Tracey-Anne Plater

Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

I live in Braintree, Essex, with my husband, three young children and pet tortoise. I am a freelance writer, copywriter, proofreader and copy editor, and I love walking, collecting cacti and rain art. I write short stories, flash fiction, and I am currently finishing my first novel. I am also about to submit a collection of my 100 word stories to agents.

When and how did you get into writing?

I kept a daily diary from the age of 12 and always wanted to write a novel. I finally got the confidence to try creative writing properly in 2015 when I wrote the first draft of my novel, but I didn’t revisit writing until two years ago when my youngest started school. My short stories have been included in three anthologies, and I have won places in writing competitions with my fiction. I have also had stories featured in Writing Magazine, Writers’ Forum and Women’s Weekly. I recently posted a new 100 word story on social media every day for ten months.

How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?

I write every day for work, but I try to carve out time for creative writing every week at least. Sometimes I write daily; other times, it is less often, but I make notes of lines or feelings that inspire me. Overheard conversations, coincidences, and nostalgia inspire me.

How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It means the world to me. Like many writers, my confidence frequently dips, so recognition for my work is a sign that I am right to follow my passion.

What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?

The best thing is seeing where the story goes and getting those ‘unforgettable’ lines. I have written hundreds of stories, and most have a line or few words that stay in my mind. I enjoy letting the writing decide where it goes, as often, it isn’t the direction I expect. The most challenging thing is making the story connect with the reader and stand out. If you believe in the characters, you have won half of that battle.

How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And how long have you been working on it?

The story initially came from a magazine story prompt of ‘5 o clock shadow’. My husband suggested putting an unexpected spin on it, and the image of an autumn tea-time raid came to mind. I can clearly see the house's layout and street when I think of it, and the nature of the gossiping neighbourhood helped to layer the story – we all know what local gossip can be like! I wrote it in an afternoon and edited it twice a few weeks later.

Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?

· Avoid cliches (plots, phrases and characters)

· Don’t over plot

· Once finished, cut all redundant words (that, really, just, obviously, very). If the sentence works without it, lose it!

· Do not try to copy someone else's story or writing style – have faith in yourself.

What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?

The best thing is that they make you put pen to paper and bring those ideas to life. The challenging thing is the rollercoaster during the wait of ‘I feel positive about my story/I know I won’t win’.

Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit their stories/screenplays to LISP?

Definitely. It’s a great way to get your work completed and out there. If you don’t win, have another edit and send it out elsewhere. If you believe your story has a home, it will find it eventually.


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